"Lives Dedicated to Music"

Saturday, April 13, 2024
7:00 p.m. Doors Open; 7:30 p.m. Start

Music Center Recital Hall, UC Santa Cruz

More event details here

"Lives Dedicated to Music" presents music by UC Santa Cruz faculty composers who have been dedicated to the Music program for more than four decades, and premieres and other works by performers on violin, cello, piano, clarinet, percussion. 

This event is curated by Hi Kyung Kim and presented by the UC Santa Cruz Digital Arts and New Media and Music Department as part of the April in Santa Cruz Festival. 


Paul Nauert

“Prelude” “Bagatelle”  (world premieres, 2019) 

Rory Cowal, piano 

David Evan Jones

“Eemulnori” for Violin, Piano (2005) 

Kate Stenberg, violin

Kumaran Arul, piano 

Emily Howell (with David Cope)

“Darkness, Light” (Prelude and Fugue II)  for Two Pianos (2007) 

Mary Jane Cope, piano 

Kay Yoon, piano 

Matthew Schumaker

“Satellites” for Piano and Electronics (world premiere, 2024) 

Chia-Lin Yang, piano 

Larry Polansky

“five songs for kate and vanessa” for Trio (2019) 

Kate Stenberg, violin 

Vanessa Ruotolo, cello 

Rory Cowal, piano 


NOTE: Hi Kyung Kim’s  “the westwind holds my melting heart!” will be presented on May 18, Saturday at 7:30 PM at the Recital Hall.

Hi Kyung Kim

“the westwind holds my melting heart!” (Premiere, 2024) 

John T. Sackett, clarinet 

William Winant, percussion  

Eun-ha Park, Korean percussion/dance


David Cope

David Evan Jones

Hi Kyung Kim

Paul Nauert

Larry Polansky

Matthew Schumaker


Paul Nauert (1966-2019) was a composer and theorist whose research focused on rhythm and meter, music cognition, and mathematical and computer models of the compositional process. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, the University of Rochester, and Columbia University, Nauert taught theory and composition at UCSC from 1996 until 2013. In the summer of 2009  he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ("Lou Gehrig's Disease"). Amy C. Beal recently collected, cataloged, and scanned Nauert's works, and Frog Peak Music (a composers’ collective) distributes a special selection of twenty of his compositions to interested musicians and scholars.


Paul Nauert’s Bagatelle was written in December 2016 for his friend Mary Dees. It is a short tonal work with a beautiful melody and soft harmonies. His undated Prelude bears the subtitle “for my dear friends in the UCSC Music Department.” 


 David Evan Jones’ early theoretical work focused on structural relationships between phonetics and music and resulted in a series of pieces for instruments with electroacoustics—most recently his CD News from Afar.  Jones’ opera Bardos was premiered in 2004 in Hoam Hall, Seoul.


Jones also composes for Korean instruments. His Dreams of Falling for an orchestra of Korean instruments received several performances in the US and Seoul between 2016-2019.  His most recent composition for Korean instruments, Invisible Light for 12-string Gayageum and Saenghwang, was premiered in Seoul in 2022.


Jones has worked extensively in computer music, composing in residence at EMS Stockholm, IRCAM in Paris, and Dartmouth College where he co-founded, with Jon Appleton, the Dartmouth graduate program in Electro-Acoustic Music.  


His compositions have been honored by first prize awards in the Premio Ancona Competition (Italy), the American New Music Consortium competition, and the MACRO International Composition Competition and by awards from Prix Ars Electronica (Austria), the Bourges Electro-Acoustic Music Competition (France), and the National Opera Association.  His articles have appeared in Perspectives of New Music and Computer Music Journal.  His compositions are available on compact disks from Wergo Records, Centaur Records, Contemporary Recording Studios, Musical Heritage Society, and Capstone Records.

EEMULNORI  (“two-object play” in Korean) quotes, varies, and substantially develops two extended rhythmic cycles drawn from the Samulnori (“four-object play”) tradition.  In Eemulnori, the two ‘objects’ played are not only instruments but also rhythmic themes and emotional moods.


The entire first half of Eemulnori can be thought of as a series of canonic variations built upon a rhythmic sequence from a familiar opening to a Samulnori performance.  The complexity of the variations progresses rapidly so that the fourth and final variation retains only the phrase structure of the original cycle while largely obscuring the original rhythm.  


The second half of Eemulnori is based upon a faster rhythmic cycle—a condensed variation of another excerpt from the same Samulnoriperformance.   The original Samulnori rhythm is stated clearly only near the end of Eemulnori, at a tempo and in a manner intended to recall the excitement of the ending of a Samulnori performance. 


Eemulnori received an Honorable Mention in the Sejong Cultural Society International Composition Competition.  It was selected as one of the works to be prepared by aspiring young violinists entering the Sejong Cultural Society performance competitions.  DEJ


David Cope, UCSC Professor Emeritus of Music, has earned an international reputation for his groundbreaking work in algorithmic composition, discussed in his book Experiments in Musical Intelligence. Additionally, he has authored the best selling book New Directions in Music, as well as New Music Composition, Computers and Musical Style, Virtual Music, Computer Models of Musical Creativity and numerous other titles (including fiction). He has also produced a body of algorithmic art. His work is featured in Jae Shim's recent award-winning documentary Opus Cope: An Algorithmic Opera. David’s numerous compositions include works for small and large ensembles as well as string quartet, choir, piano, clarinet, flute, gayageum and various other solo instruments. He is recorded on Folkways, Smithsonian, and Centaur Records.

From Darkness, Light is a suite of three preludes and fugues, decidedly triadic in content, produced by David Cope’s computer program Emily Howell (the ‘daughter’ of his original compositional program Emmy). The material for this suite was generated from a database using only the output of Emmy. The second Prelude features relentless arpeggiated figures of kaleidoscopic harmonic changes presented antiphonally between the two pianos, finally merging together at the close. The simple but poignant fugue, somewhat reminiscent of Shostakovich, boasts a haunting 13-measure subject which generates a gradually thickening texture before winding its way down to a simple, quiet close. The entire suite, recorded in 2007 by Mary Jane Cope and Erika Arulanantham, is available on Centaur Records and also on YouTube.  


 Matt Schumaker’s music engages with research into computer-assisted composition and mixed works for acoustic instruments and computer technologies. He received a doctorate in Music Composition from UC Berkeley (UCB), where he studied with composers Edmund Campion, Cindy Cox, Franck Bedrossian, Ken Ueno and David Wessel. Early on in his studies, Schumaker spent a formative year in Amsterdam, studying with Louis Andriessen. In 2014, he moved to France through UCB’s Prix de Paris program, where he worked closely with composer Martin Matalon.

In recent years, Schumaker’s music has been performed by the Radius Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, Winsor Music, Eco Ensemble, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra. Schumaker’s music has also been presented at festivals and curated events, including by clarinetist Rane Moore at the Virtual SICPP 2020, by pianist Chia-Lin Yang at the April in Santa Cruz Festival, by members of Dog Trio at the klub katarakt Festival for Experimental Music in Hamburg, Germany, by clarinetist Joshua Rubin at the soundSCAPE festival in Blonay, Switzerland, and by pianist Eric Huebner as part of a concert of Schumaker’s work at the Gassmann Electronic Music Series at UC Irvine. Schumaker’s multimedia work for music and computer graphics has been shown at Zeitgeist Gallery in Nashville and at the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum in Saint Austine and will also be presented as part of the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival in June, 2024.

During 2018-20, Schumaker was an Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Scholar at MIT. He has taught at MIT and UC Berkeley. In fall 2021, he joined the Music Department at UC Santa Cruz as Assistant Professor.

Satellites  is a suite of three pieces for piano and electronics. It is part of a larger series of works drawing on the sound and science of flight and space. The music commemorates the work of early African American astronauts Robert Lawrence, Jr., Michael P. Anderson, and Ronald E. McNair, all of whom gave their lives to space research in the Gme preceding and around the era of the space shu#le.

The Satellites are so-called because they revolve around other pieces in this series, deriving musical material from them that is presented in new ways here and suggesGng new material for future work. In Satellite 1, frequencies collected from words spoken by astronaut Michael P. Anderson during an interview from space are converted to pitches. These pitches, in turn, provide the principal harmonies of the work. Satellite 2 draws on the disGncGve parabolic curve of the space shu#le’s flight to space, tracking alGtude data from liKoff to main engine cutoff point. This same curve is used to structure the upwards trajectory in the phrases of piano music over the course of the piece. And in Satellite 3, the sound of a flyby from the F104 Starfighter airplane that Robert Lawrence, Jr. flew as a test pilot are analyzed for their component frequencies and then used to provide a harmonic model for the piece. These harmonies, derived from the sound of a single flyby, are stretched over the length of the piece using an mlp regressor, a neural network that interpolates between the harmonic stages taken from the original analysis, creaGng a smooth harmonic trajectory for the piece.

The electronics of the piece include technology to program the computer to “listen” intelligently to the live performance and to trigger sounds and processes in real-Gme as the pianist reaches certain points in the score. Here the resulGng electronic sounds are used principally to reinforce and extend the resonances of the piano. We might view the space shu#le itself as a sophisGcated airplane that’s been souped up with the power of its massive liquid-fuel cryogenic rocket engines. Similarly, the electronics in this piece underscore the exuberance and mastery of the pianist, supporGng her performance and efforts to achieve her own form of escape velocity.

Larry Polansky is a composer, theorist, performer, editor, writer and teacher. He is the Emeritus Strauss Professor of Music at Dartmouth College, the co-founder and co-director of Frog Peak Music (A Composers’ Collective), and is Professor Emeritus of Music at UC Santa Cruz. He has also taught at Bard College and several other schools. His solo CDs are available on New World Records, Artifact, and Cold Blue, and his music is widely anthologized on many other labels. His works are performed frequently around the world, and he has scored two films, one an award winning animation by Stacey Steers. Polansky is the recipient a number of prizes, commissions, and awards, including Guggenheim, Fulbright, and Mellon New Directions Fellowships (the latter for work in American Sign Language performance). He was the inaugural recipient (with David Behrman)  of the Henry Cowell Award from the American Music Center. As a performer (primarily as guitarist and mandolinist), he has premiered and recorded important contemporary works by Christian Wolff, Barbara Monk Feldman, Michael Parsons, James Tenney, Lou Harrison, Lois V Vierk, Ron Nagorcka, Daniel Goode, David Mahler, and many others.


The five “songs” of the ambitious work Five Songs for Kate and Vanessa, composed for Bay Area violinist Kate Stenberg and cellist Vanessa Ruotolo, span a range of musical styles, from American folk music to Baroque dances, to Polansky’s own rounds and Ruth Crawford Seeger arrangements. Each song features a different compositional approach and manipulation of the source material, but all draw on the virtuosity and musicality of the musicians for whom the piece is written. The first and last of the Five Songs… are based on Crawford Seeger’s arrangements of the folk songs Higher Up the Cherry Tree and Sweet Betsy from Pike. The second song, Corner Cows, is based on a round of the same name, which Polansky wrote in Vermont during the summer of 2018. The third and fourth parts of Five Songs are both based on music by German Baroque composer Johann Jakob Froberger. The piano parts in these movements were written for pianist Amy C. Beal; in this performance, Rory Cowal, longtime devotee of Polansky's music, will perform the parts. 2&fro/in&out, is based on Froberger’s set of keyboard variations called Auf den Mayerin (1649). The fourth song is based on Frogberger’s Courante from the same set of variations, but in terms of the notes and rhythms it is an exact reproduction of the original. To Froberger’s piece Polansky applies a compositional and software technique he calls “normalized time stretching,” in which a given measure of music may be stretched or constricted independently of the other parts.

--Jay M. Arms


Chia-Lin Yang, piano

Kate Stenberg, violin

Kay Yoon, piano

Kumaran Arul, piano

Mary Jane Cope, piano

Rory Cowal, piano

Vanessa Ruotolo, cello


As a classical pianist, Rory Cowal’s repertoire spans the breadth of the American avant-garde. In addition to classic works by composers such as Lou Harrison and Johanna Beyer, he has performed numerous premieres, including pieces by Muhal Richard Abrams, Kris Davis, and Larry Polansky. His 2018 album, “Clusters: Piano Explorations” (New World Records) received an enthusiastic review in the New York Times and one track was also selected for the Times’ 25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2018.  As a jazz pianist, he has performed at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Angel City Jazz Festival, Jazz at LACMA, JazzPOP, Harlem in the Himalayas, and other festivals and clubs throughout the United States and Canada.


Kumaran Arul has taught piano, chamber music, and historical performance studies at Stanford University for two decades.  He has performed widely as pianist throughout the United States and abroad having been described as a “formidable…superbly intelligent and sensitive musician” with “courage to venture far from everyone else’s beaten path.” Arul has been actively involved with research into historical recordings and founded the Player Piano Program at Stanford.  His studies have been at the University of Michigan Manhattan School of Music and Cambridge University.  In his spare time, he enjoys pursuing his interests in birds and bird song.


 A graduate of the Indiana University School of Music, Mary Jane Cope served on the piano faculty of UCSC from 1977 until her retirement in 2013.  A versatile performer, she has a special interest in the music of the 19th century onward, particularly the music of women. She has continued to perform as a soloist and chamber musician and has been a steadfast champion of the music of her husband David Cope. A devoted teacher, she is certified as an MTNA Master Teacher and has been called a ‘teacher’s teacher’ for her broad acquaintance with the repertoire and her mentoring of other teachers.


 Kay Yoon is a professional pianist and music teacher. She strives to challenge and explore her creativity with artistic intelligence and insights, to professionally serve her community as a pianist and, as a teacher with a comprehensive expertise, to encourage and assist others to discover joy in playing the piano. She holds a B.A. in music from UC Berkeley and an M.M. in piano performance from San Francisco State University. She draws inspiration from the ongoing mentorship of Mary Jane Cope, Katherine Heater, Dr. Victoria Neve, and Jonathan Salzedo.  Kay teaches in her Scotts Valley studio and in the Bay Area.


 Violinist, Kate Stenberg is a leading interpreter of contemporary chamber music. NewMusicBox describes her playing as “highly virtuosic and deeply communicative…”. Stenberg has premiered over one hundred solo and chamber works including works by Tania Leon, Chinary Ung, Per Nørgård, Gabriela Lena Frank and Mason Bates. Her recordings are available on New World Records, Sono Luminous and others and a recent 2022 release includes the world premiere of Lou Harrison’s Sonata for Unaccompanied Violin on the Other Minds Records.

Stenberg performs regularly with pianist Sarah Cahill. The Stenberg|Cahill Duo is committed to promoting the American experimental music tradition and expanding its repertoire by commissioning new work. In 2022, the duo premiered works by Roscoe Mitchell, Pamela Z and Lars Petter Hagen. Venues include SF Performances PIVOT Series, MIT, Berkeley Chamber Performances and Other Minds Festival.

Kate Stenberg developed and commissioned music as co-founder of the Real Vocal String Quartet and Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and for two decades served as violinist of the award winning Del Sol String Quartet. Stenberg has collaborated with dance companies including Garrett + Moulton Productions and Nancy Karp + Dancers and composed music for The Mycos Project eco-art film she created with Irene Sazer - Not Apart, Together. 

Chia-Lin Yang is acclaimed for her pianistic artistry, characterized by critics as possessing "the requisite touch of poetry that eludes so many pianists." Her career as a concert pianist and chamber musician has taken her on tours across the United States, Canada, and her native Taiwan.


Noteworthy achievements in her career include winning top prizes at prestigious competitions such as the Seattle International Piano Competition and the Kingsville Isabel Scionti Solo Piano Competition. These victories have propelled her to perform at renowned venues such as Benaroya Hall and the Banff Centre's Rolston Recital Hall, along with national broadcasts on platforms like WQXR in Minnesota. Dr. Yang's list of accolades extends to competitions such as the National Arts and Letters Competition, WAMSO Young Artist Competition, Camerata Concerto Competition, and Wideman Piano Concerto Competition. She is also a recipient of the Hellen von Ammon Fund for Emerging Artists.


Her musical education includes earning both Doctor's and Master's degrees in piano

performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she studied under the guidance of André Watts and Evelyne Brancart. Dr. Yang has contributed to music education as a faculty member at institutions like Indiana University and West Valley College, where she established the acclaimed WVC Young Artist Concert Series. Currently, Dr. Chia-Lin Yang serves as a Lecturer in Piano at UC Santa Cruz and as a piano instructor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre-College Academy and Continuing Education Division.


Vanessa Ruotolo is a cellist and educator based in San Francisco. She earned degrees from the New England and San Francisco Conservatories of Music and is a tenured member of the Santa Rosa Symphony, Pacific Chamber Orchestra and Midsummer Mozart Festival Orchestra. Vanessa plays with the Skywalker Sound Orchestra as well as opera companies Opera Parrallele, Opera On Tap and San Francisco Opera’s Merola program. She has performed with several new music ensembles including Earplay, SFCMP, Eco Ensemble, Pacific Rim, April in Santa Cruz and Other Minds Festival. As a member of Del Sol, Hidden Valley, Rhythm Sisters and Real Vocal String Quartets, among others, Ms Ruotolo appreciates exploring a wide range of musical styles.


Vanessa has performed with popular music icons Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, The Eagles, The Who and Mary J. Blige as well as recorded for several motion picture scores.

She has served as lecturer in music at UC Santa Cruz since 2009 where she enjoys the challenges and rewards of teaching while also performing new music compositions of students and faculty alike, having recorded original works for New World and Other Minds Records.

She recently travelled to West Africa to support music programs at the University of Ghana, the Accra Youth Symphony and a student orchestra at Kinder Paradise, an orphanage in Prampram.

Dedicated to encouraging music education, Vanessa has spent nearly 20 years scripting and performing children’s concerts for the San Francisco Symphony’s Education program, serving students in the San Francisco Unified School District.